Barry Hearn has delivered a stark warning to any player caught gambling on this year's Betfred.com World Championship: “If you mess around with this, it's life.”
World Snooker chairman Hearn insisted he would not tolerate the Crucible showpiece being marred by the kind of scandal which completely overshadowed last year's Sheffield final.
The eve of the final saw the publication of a tabloid sting on three-time champion John Higgins, who was accused of agreeing to take a bribe to fix matches.
Higgins was ultimately cleared of that charge but was suspended for six months for giving the misleading impression he would be prepared to deliberately lose frames as well as failing to report the approach made to him.
The fallout led Hearn to slap a blanket ban on players placing any kind of bet on a snooker match, with any offenders kicked out of the sport for life.
“You have to educate first and I think we've done the education. The other side of the process is the punishment,” said Hearn.”
World draw: Jamie Cope v Andrew Pagett;
Ding Junhui v Jamie Burnett; John Higgins v Stephen Lee; Neil Robertson v Judd Trump; Mark Allen v Matthew Stevens; Ricky Walden v Rory McLeod; Mark Williams v Ryan Day; Stephen Maguire v Barry Hawkins; Ronnie O'Sullivan v Dominic Dale; Shaun Murphy v Marcus Campbell; Graeme Dott v Mark King; Stephen Hendry v Joe Perry; Ali Carter v Dave Harold; Peter Ebdon v Stuart Bingham; Mark Selby v Jimmy Robertson; Marco Fu v Martin Gould